“This village where age-old traditions and religious study are valued above economic advancement has been ranked as the poorest municipality in New York state, according to an analysis by 24/7 Wall St. published in USA Today.
In the Hasidic Jewish community founded in 1954 along Route 45, the poverty rate is 70 percent, with a median income of $21,773 compared with the state median of $60,741.
New Square’s median annual household income stands nearly $5,000 below that of Kiryas Joel, a Hasidic Jewish village in Orange County that was ranked as the state’s next poorest municipality.
Many of New Square’s 7,804 residents depend on social service programs to put food on the table, pay rent and medical bills.
The village’s residents qualify for benefits based on income and family size, with applications checked by Social Services department specialists, Commissioner Joan Silvestri said.
Lifestyles and religious tenets could explain why some Hasidic families fall below the poverty level and qualify for federal rent subsidies, Medicaid, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, and other programs for low-income families.
People typically marry around 18 to 20 years of age. Girls finish high school at around age 17 and then marry.
New Square’s tenets are decided by the grand rabbi, the dynastic leader of the community in Ramapo and across the world.
Mayor Israel Spitzer didn’t return telephone calls for comment, but a former village resident who has been critical of the Hasidic lifestyle discussed some of the factors that have led New Square to be ranked among the state’s poorest places.
The lack of secular education, mandated years of Torah study for men and large families create the poverty conditions, said Shulem Deen, who has written books on the religious community.”
Read the full text of the Journal News article here.“